I have been feeling under the weather for the last four days. A four-day persistent headache and feeling of general malaise is not an enjoyable experience in anyone’s book. In previous times, I would have forged ahead, pushed on and kept up my general routine. I would have ignored my body, telling it to quieten down, and would strive ahead with purpose, continuing to exercise, clean the house, attend social events and cook elaborate dinners.
This time, however, has been different. At the beginning of this year, I made a commitment to myself that I would listen more to what my body is trying to tell me. I don’t mean listen in a kind of ‘my body craves pizza, so that’s what it will get’ kind of way. I mean the when my body is crying out for me to slow down, I will take heed.
Feeling under the weather recently has seen me spend a gorgeous spring Friday evening indoors, ordering (healthy) takeaway and going to sleep early, leaving an amazing bar early on Saturday night and having to say goodbye to friends and fun times to creep into my bed, skip the gym and rest for hours on end (a very boring thing to do in New York City in spring). Even after a night of 10 hours sleep, I have woken up this morning with the same symptoms. Ugh.
Pausing and even stopping our normal routines when we feel this way is vital to our health and wellbeing. Pushing on through times like this will no doubt cause our bodies to react negatively, pushing out illness and despair for twice as long as had you listened from the outset. It can be really difficult to take a break, particularly when there are work, family, exercise and social pressures bearing down upon us. I still struggle with keeping the guilts at bay when I miss a gym session. Remember this though, a few days (or even a week) out of our usual routines is not going to kills us. We won’t put on weight. We won’t lose fitness.
When your body is feeding you signs that it is time to step back, take notice and act. Do what you can within your capacity and then stop there. Don’t push it. Don’t rush things. Just go gently. Treat yourself with respect and love. Eat a clean, healthy diet and get plenty of rest. Remember, you can press ‘play’ again when your energy returns. For now however, do what you need to get back on track. Nurture your body and it will nurture you back.